USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub is working in coordination with the USAID/Malawi INVC (Integrating Nutrition in Value Chains) program to raise awareness, improve standards, and bring quality to the Malawian groundnut supply chain. From July 13-22, 2015, three training workshops in Malawi sensitized farmers to the health and economic effects of aflatoxin contamination and demonstrated methods to decrease contamination at both the pre-and post-harvest stages.
Nearly 300 farmer leaders (of which 40% were women) were trained at the Agricultural Research & Training Trust in Dedza and the Nathenje Residential Training Centre in Lilongwe.The farmer leaders trained will reach an estimated 6,000 to 15,000 households with the skills demonstrated at the workshop, including mild heat treatment, skin removal, and color sorting. Dissemination of these simple but important methods will improve livelihoods and increase income levels by enabling the sale of standardized nuts that meet export requirements. The skills will also improve the safety of groundnuts consumed at home.
Based on feedback at the workshop, it was clear that there is still inadequate awareness of aflatoxin and its risks at the farmer level in Malawi. Many of the participants had never even heard of the carcinogen. Due to the lack of awareness and properly disseminated information about managing aflatoxin, consumption and sale of contaminated produce is still a serious problem in Malawi, and there is a great need for workshops of this kind.
Photo: Improper storage techniques such as the one pictured lead to higher levels of aflatoxin contamination.